A new dress watch, rattrapante, and über-complication — all celebrating founder F.A. Lange and the brand’s origins in Baroque clockmaking.
This week, as part of the region-specific edition of Watches & Wonders happening in Shanghai (from 9 to 13 September), we’ve already seen a flurry of new pieces making their debut on the banks of the West Bund Art Centre. Some brands played things close to the chest with stylish but superficial updates on existent references (e.g. Vacheron with its pink gold/blue dial Overseas) while others introduced reasonably significant changes to popular lineups.
A.Lange & Söhne’s latest falls somewhere in between. Consisting of three limited editions in the brand’s classic, handsome, very Teutonic 1815 collection.
Each release is cased in Lange’s proprietary Honeygold (a distinctive precious alloy that is “considerably harder than platinum”). True to its ‘Homage’ descriptor, they embody a modern twist to the kind of watchmaking that the brand’s founder F.A. Lange was known for in the mid-19th century. Below, we break down each of the new ‘Homage to F.A. Lange’ releases in order of complexity.
1815 Thin Honeygold
Undoubtedly the simplest of the new ‘Homage to F.A. Lange’ releases, the 1815 ‘Thin’ is a dyed-in-the-wool dress watch modelled off of the modern classic that is the Saxonia Thin. Lange watchmakers have responded to the alleged starkness of the basic ultra-thin Saxonia by enlarging the case and adding an enamel dial (a rarity for releases at this price point). This particular edition is pitched at 38mm x 6.3mm — 1mm up from its predecessor’s proportions.
Far and away the most accesible new ‘Homage’ (relatively speaking), the 1815 Thin introduces a few choice additions to the standard design language. The depressed central part of the dial, in conjunction with the railway track, make for a more engaging reading experience. Inside you’ll find the calibre L903.1 — a movement traditionally associated with the Saxonia Thin. As with many entry-level Lange timepieces, the movement is mostly concealed by the traditional three-quarter plate — decorated here with a more lavish frosted finish.
The 1815 Thin Honeygold is priced at approx. S$48,000, limited to 175 pieces. Visit A. Lange & Söhne online to learn more.
1815 Rattrapante Honeygold
Unlike the Tourbograph and 1815 Thin, the ‘Homage to F.A. Lange’ rattrapante is the only wholly new release to emerge from Watches & Wonders this year. Combining a black dial and Honeygold case, it’s clear the piece is going to tick a lot of boxes prized by Lange collectors. To date, it’s the thinnest split-second chronograph the brand has ever manufactured, and moreover, the first occasion on which a rattrapante has been offered in Honeygold. To top things off, you have a crowd-pleasing gold case/black dial combination: The dial is fashioned from argenté silver (coloured in black), with the other display elements are applied in gold powder print.
Intriguingly, this rattrapante is Lange’s first watch to feature the calibre 101.2 — a new in-house movement based on the 1815 rattrapante perpetual calendar. Inside the case, the movement weighs in at a thickness of 12.6mm — thinner than your average Lange & Söhne chronograph. For context: the famed ‘Up/Down’ Datograph has a case thickness totalling 13.1mm.
The 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold is priced at approx. S$186,000, limited to 100 pieces as a boutique exclusive. Visit A. Lange & Söhne online to learn more.
Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold
At the centre of the new ‘Homage to the F.A. Lange’ line-up is the Tourbograph Perpetual in Honeygold. A rare rendition of one of the rarest Lange high complications ever made, the new ‘Homage’ Tourbograph Perpetual contains a rattrapante, perpetual calendar and tourbillon — all within a Honeygold case weighing in at 43mm. Enthusiasts of the brand have also identified the similarity to pieces in the Handwekskunst collection, though unlike the latter, the relief engravings for this dial are machine-made (as opposed to mechanical). Notably, the base dial is machined using solid Honeygold and finished with black-rhodium. In order to create the calendar/chronograph registers, three portions of the dial are raised and then machine-polished, in order to reveal the original Honeygold beneath.
In terms of movement architecture, the calibre L133.1 is one of the most intricate layouts offered by Lange. On the caseback, wearers will be able to see the split-seconds chrono, tourbillon and chain-and-fuseé transmission; whereas the dial side is occupied by the perpetual calendar. The moonphase is the most extravagant part of what’s already a wildly ornate dial. Whereas the majority is decorated by machine, this segment is hand-engraved — down to the individual starry elements surrounding each moonphase.
The Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold is priced at approx. S$689,000, limited to 50 pieces. Visit A. Lange & Söhne online to learn more.
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.